Looking into my genome

23andMe is a web service that will sequence parts of your genome for just 99$. Credit: 23andMe

Promethease is a web service that can provide you with an analyses of your genome. Credit: Promethease.

As genome sequencing is getting cheaper more and more of us will end up having our genome in our pocket. Having a 2 GB of A-C-G-T strings is not particularly exciting though. What we would like to have is some sort of indication of their meaning, the probability to run into health problems, the sensitivity to certain drugs... 

As it could be expected, a number of services for genome sequencing have popped up, probably one of the most widely used for consumers like me, and you, being 23andMe. For just 99$ you can get your genome (partly) sequenced. Till Fall 2013 you would get your genome back, in digital form, along with information on what it meant and on the risks associated to your genome. Then in November 2013 the FDA banned 23andMe (by the way, 23 is the number of chromosomes in the human genome...) to provide any risk information since these were not cleared by them and there is quite a broad latitude in interpretation, so broad that it can mislead people.

Of course, in the digital world it is difficult to stop entrepreneurs in a Country since they can just move their business somewhere else and through the web continue to reach the whole world.

Today you can choose to have your digital genome analysed by a number of services on the web, for as little as 5$ (with higher fees depending on the depth of the analyses requested). One such service is Promethease. Through the web you can upload to them your digital genome (received from 23andMe) and within 20 minutes you'll get their analyses.

I can easily imagine that as more and more genomes will be sequenced, more knowledge gathered (you can look at the increasing knowledge on the genome on the dedicated "genome wikipedia", SNPedia (SNP stands for Single Nucleotide Polymorphism), and a broader market emerge, we will see more and more applications popping up on the web to provide analyses on our genome.  A new world is opening up its doors, although we do not know exactly what's awaiting for us.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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